The Week in Big Data

A look at how analytics can help you get ahead of what customers want.

Numbers tell a story. They tell us where we’ve been, and more importantly, they tell us where we’re going.

We’re fortunate to have more information at our fingertips than ever before, which gives us unprecedented insight into human behavior and global patterns.

Here at Longitudes, we like to think of big data as a crystal ball, a tool that helps you see the trend lines before it’s too late. That’s why we’ve been talking about big data all week.

However, data by itself is meaningless if you don’t know how to interpret it. Forward-looking companies master how to extract what actually matters from an ever-replenishing sea of numbers.

If complete clairvoyance is unachievable, analytics is probably the next best thing.

Logistics leaders like UPS are fixated on getting customers what they want whenever they want it. Thanks to big data, we’re more and more equipped to meet this demand.

As Imad Nusheiwat, Managing Director of UPS Global Solutions, explains, big data provides a clearer blueprint for how to thrive in a world where the line between brick-and-mortar stores and digital is increasingly blurred.

In addition to online tendencies, new data on consumer spending provides valuable indicators of how retailers and logistics companies can be more responsive to customers’ needs, he writes.

Search engine data, for example, is forecasting online retail sales for the 2015 holidays.

We can forecast the volume of future purchases at an aggregate level – at a greater than 70 percent accuracy rate – by analyzing historical search and shopping behavior, says Udayan Bose, Founder and CEO of NetElixir.

But big data isn’t purely about maximizing profit. It’s also a potential game-changer for humanitarian pursuits.

Accurate and timely statistics are needed to assist migrants effectively, and to counter common misperceptions that only serve to postpone urgently needed political and humanitarian responses, writes Marzia Rango, Research Officer at the International Organization for Migration’s Global Migration Data Analysis Centre in Berlin.

Big data is playing a big part in driving the cutting-edge technologies of the future.

The Financial Times explores why big data is so crucial in the race to develop autonomous vehicles.

And Nancy Brinker, founder of Susan G. Komen, the world’s largest breast cancer organization, says big data is a big deal for a breast cancer cure.

How could big data transform the agriculture industry?

The big data movement — and the innovative technologies and analytics it yields — could lead to at least as much change in agriculture as the Green Revolution and the adoption of biotechnology did, says Missouri Farm Bureau President Blake Hurst.

In case you missed it, check out what else Longitudes had to offer this week.

Here’s how a 15-year-old is changing the way we communicate.

And here’s how logistics leaders can help companies tackle data breachesgoldbrown2

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Brian Hughes is Managing Editor of Longitudes and co-host of Longitudes Radio.

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